‘The whole of history has been taken up with pretence after pretence that the void between the two voids can be filled with something other than play. Yet if nature does all the serious work, what is there left for man?'
burgess | m/f | society
‘An interesting case is the early attempt to impose taxes on playing cards in Britain , which involved printing the Ace of Spades separately at the government printing office. The penalty for anyone using any Ace of Spades other than those printed by government was originally death (…), though the sentence was later reduced to transportation, and later still, in 1861, to penal servitude for life'
hood | tools of government | cards | statecraft |
'Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
shakespeare | macbeth | candle | the game | nihilism | performance
'On Monday, Sports Direct's shares slumped to a new low of 190¾p after it emerged that Mike Ashley, deputy chairman and majority shareholder of Sports Direct, had settled a dispute with Merrill over a £200,000 legal bill with a game of "spoof".'
rigby and saigol | financial times | spoof
‘The rules even of particular sports are sui generis. Thus the codes by which soccer is played, and the standards by which excellence is judged, only make sense on the soccer pitch; they are arbitrary and irrelevant to any non-sporting world, and even to other sports. It is this self-referential character that makes the appeal of sport all-consuming to some, and incomprehensible to others: explaining, for instance, why someone can find soccer sublime and golf “a good walk spoiled”. But the analytical importance of the self-referential character of sport goes beyond sporting domains, because sport is representative of other spheres in civil society that share this pure self-referential quality. The most obvious examples are in the arts. Many of the most important art forms – notable examples include opera and ballet – resemble sport in deriving their meaning, and their criteria of excellence, from their own internally generated and highly elaborate codes. They, thus, resemble sport in being “pointless” beyond their coded worlds. That explains why their appeal too is arbitrary: why, for instance, an enthusiast for opera can find the form sublime while viewing ballet as nothing more than a lot of skipping and hopping.'
moran | british regulatory state | arts | society
Although art obviously offers the greatest scope to the aesthetic disposition, there is no area of practice in which the aim of purifying, refining and sublimating primary needs and impulses cannot assert itself, no area in which the stylization of life, that is, the primacy of forms over function, of manner over matter, does not produce the same effects. And nothing is more distinctive, more distinguished, than the capacity to confer aesthetic status on objects that are banal or even ‘common’ (because the ‘common’ people make them their own, especially for aesthetic purposes), or the ability to apply the principles of a ‘pure’ aesthetic to the most everyday choices of everyday life, e.g., in cooking, clothing or decoration, completely reversing the popular disposition which annexes aesthetics to ethics.'
bourdieu | distinction | arts | webcite